Power In The Handmaid's Tale

900 Words4 Pages
Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, is a dystopian story about a handmaid named Offred. The story is about how the government is overthrown by a religious group, and how they divide the citizens up and strip them of their freedom and rights. They then give them each a role to play in Gilead, and if they don’t cooperate they have devastating path in front of them. Throughout this book there is an apparent theme of power and privilege at play. One of the ways that Atwood portrays this theme is by representing social groups and how they affect society as a whole. The handmaids, the social group most talked about, are the main way she portrays this theme and the affects power and privilege can have on society. The handmaids…show more content…
In the book, the colonies are often mentioned as a threat or a reminder of the fate they could suffer. The handmaid 's have one job, and they doing anything outside of contributing to that job will get them sent away. In one instance Ofglen, a handmaid, is replaced by a new handmaid because she was discovered for being part of the underground revolution. As Offred is walking to meet her, she thinks “Then when she’s nearer still I see what it is. She isn’t Ofglen.” (page 282). They also hang people in some cases, instead of sending them off. Offred and her walking partner often walk past this wall “On the Wall hang three women from this morning, still in their dresses, still in their shoes, still with the white bags over their heads.” (page 283). The Aunts not only view fertility as a gift from God, but also as a privilege that you cannot take advantage of. Throughout the handmaid 's tale Margaret Atwood sticks to a theme of power and privilege and the role it plays on society as a whole. She shows the handmaids and how they are affected and represented to help get this theme across to the reader. They are seen as women saved from their sins, they are seen as an object used for carrying children, and although they’re fertile, they’re easily disposed or
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